Landlords, just like any other business owners, are looking to cut
costs and increase profits. Usually, the first thing you'll do is think about
putting the rent up. But while that may increase revenue it may not have too
much of an impact on the bottom line. There's another less obvious way to reap
long-term gains. Screening of tenants is one of the most effective ways to
increase profitability by saving you time and money.
What is tenant screening?
Tenant screening is also known as referencing. And when you're finding
tenants it's one of the most important processes you can go through. Screening
can be a time-consuming business. It's tempting to ignore it. Or to rush
through it at the last moment. But you’ll benefit in the long run by thoroughly
screening all your prospective tenants.
Your tenant screening should begin before the viewing stage. It should
include all potential tenants who've expressed an interest in your property. By
initially screening all applicants before the viewing you'll be saving yourself
a lot of time in the long run.
The pre-viewing screening will present you with a shortlist of
the best tenants. You can then go ahead and schedule viewings. But if your
initial screening wasn't too in-depth you should be prepared to do more referencing
checks before you finally offer the tenancy to someone on your shortlist.
What to consider when screening your tenants
The whole point of screening is to help you find the best tenant
possible. You need to consider their financial background, employment and
previous tenancies. At the initial screening stage, you're looking to filter the
list of potential tenants down to a shortlist. All on the shortlist should be
able to afford the rent and have a good credit history. But they should also be
able to provide further references.
Questions to ask when you reference your tenants
The most obvious question to ask your tenant is 'can you afford the
rent?' Of course, no one is going to say no but you can confirm this with credit
and employment checks. The credit check will reveal any problems with
non-payments and CCJs. Employment checks will reveal the tenant's employment
status (full-time, self-employed etc). But also ask for an income reference.
This could be in the form of a wage slip or an accountant's letter in the case of
someone who's self-employed.
Another hugely important question to ask your tenant is about their
previous tenancies. Insist on references from previous landlords. This is
possibly the most valuable reference you can receive. A good reference from a
former landlord is an endorsement of a tenant's ability to pay the rent on time
and to look after the rental property. On the other hand, a former landlord can
reveal any issues with the tenant and prevent you from experiencing the same.
How does tenant screening save time and money?
A rogue tenant can cost you an awful lot of money. Not only in unpaid
rent but in the added costs of eviction, recovery of debts and all the expenses
associated with turning
over tenants. But screening will reduce the risk of this happening.
Effective tenant screening will root out unsuitable renters. It’s the best way of finding tenants who'll be reliable, trustworthy and most
importantly pay the rent on time.
Having said all that there are issues with tenant screening. The time
it takes for one. And where on earth do you start? How do you access someone's
credit report for example? Or source income references? Fortunately, help is at
How to do tenant screening the easy way
The good news is that there are tenant screening services out there.
Yes, they'll charge a fee. But the money you'll save by finding a reliable
tenant far outweighs the initial outlay. You can find these companies online. But
did you know MakeUrMove's property
management services all include tenant screening? This includes our great
value Good Landlord package.
MakeUrMove provides comprehensive checks including credit checks, income
references and the all-important landlord references. But our tenant screening
services also include fraud checks and bank validation. And it's all done for
you providing you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you'll have a
reliable tenant who won't let you down.
Private landlords can find tenants fast by listing their property
with MakeUrMove the online letting platform bringing landlords and tenants